In which I take a break from inter-religious relations to consider a breakdown in a different kind of dialogue. . . I met an old friend recently. He allowed as how he no longer attended church accept to receive Holy Communion, coming in only after the sermon. His reason was simply. He was tired of [Read More…]

The Most . . . .?

We need to get small to get real. . . . Flying back from Jerusalem one time I met an American Jewish leader of some repute, with whom I had a slight acquaintance. In casual conversation he referred to the Jews as “the most hated people in the world.” I was taken aback. There is [Read More…]

Moses at the Manger

Jesus comes with more baggage than Santa Clause. On my flight to Vienna Lufthansa offered, among other really small screen shows, a Christmas Oratorio in some fabulous German church setting. Behind the choir was a large nativity scene, with one (to a modern American) surprising feature. Overseeing it all was Moses, identifiable by his “horns,” a [Read More…]

Dialogue in Context – Israel/Palestine

A few days ago I received a number of emails concerning the speech the President of Israel gave at Kafr Qasim. These were emails from Jews both in Israel and the US. They saw his willingness to acknowledge injustices against Israeli Arabs and pledge to protect their rights as equal citizens of Israel as a [Read More…]

What ISIS Means?

When I think of ISIS I’m more inclined to think of “Political extremism and the religious justifications for terror.” Because I really don’t think Religious Extremism is a root cause of the ISIS phenomenon. On September 23rd I spoke on a panel about ISIS – my notes are found below. If we look across history, [Read More…]

Theological Education Inside Out

In a previous blog I suggested that the idea that the human relationship to religion is of questioner to provider of answers may ultimately destroy both religion and our humanity. If theological education is intended primarily to form leaders in Christian ministry, then within mainline denominations dominated by post-Schleiermachian liberal theology it may need to [Read More…]

Inter-religious Dialogue past Modernity

The obvious must sometimes be said: for inter-religious dialogue to be of any value those involved must know what they are talking about. And not just expertise. They must know what they have in common, what this “religion” thing is that they supposedly share. In conversation with a long-time Muslim partner in dialogue the issue [Read More…]

The Human Role in Religion

The idea that the human relationship to religion is of questioner to provider of answers may ultimately destroy both religion and our humanity. One of my colleagues recently circulated an exam question from a textbook in world religions. The exam asked “What is the most important question human beings must answer? Choose your question wisely, and [Read More…]

Discrimination Pure and Simple

The trending line on facebook had an appalling headline. “Beheading in Oklahoma.” The link took me to a local OK television station. There was the story of a man who was fired from his job. He returned to his old work place with a large knife. There he stabbed and slashed one woman multiple times, [Read More…]

Fear and Analysis

The most common, the most popular framework for analyzing religion in America appears to be fear.  Religion is complicated. It always amazes me when people think they can read a couple of books, check out a website or two, and then begin making strong assertions about this or that religion. Would they do that with [Read More…]

When Dialogue Must Stop

A summer of violence is winding to an end, with yet another war between Israel and Hamas, the rapid rise of ISIS and its reign of terror against every possible sectarian or religious minority, and nations from the Magrib to Southeast Asian slipping into failed state status. Two things have become clear. First that religion [Read More…]